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Big 12 Goes 6-0 In NCAA First Round
March 20, 2009
By Wendell Barnhouse |
Big 12 Correspondent

This was the seventh time the Big 12 has placed six teams in the NCAA Tournament. But for the first time in its 13-year history, the conference was perfect in the opening round. The Big 12 also had an undefeated first round in 2004 but had only four teams in the bracket. 

Third-seeded Missouri's victory over Cornell Friday afternoon clinched a 6-0 start for the Big 12. Earlier in the day, Oklahoma State and Kansas won. Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma opened with first-round victories Thursday.

"It's great," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said Friday in Kansas City. "I think it shows how tough this league is. We beat up on each other all year. It's refreshing to play against other teams now. I don't think people understand how tough this conference is and hopefully this shows the country how good the league is."

Friday's three first-round games were all tough tests that required the winners to finish strong down the stretch.

* Oklahoma State senior point guard Byron Eaton's three-point play with 7.2 seconds remaining gave the eighth-seeded Cowboys (23-11) a 77-75 victory over ninth-seeded Tennessee in the East Regional. Tennessee's Tyler Smith, who have the Volunteers a one-point lead with his three-point play with 24 seconds remaining, missed a 3-point attempt to end Tennessee's season.

* Kansas (26-7) was constantly challenged by North Dakota State but the third-seeded Jayhawks used the inside-outside combo of junior point guard Sherron Collins (32 points) and sophomore center Cole Aldrich (23 points, 13 rebounds) for an 84-74 victory in the Midwest Regional.

The No. 14 seed Bison (26-7) were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Senior guard Ben Woodside scored 37 points in 40 minutes but the newbies could never get closer than three points in the second half.

* Missouri (29-6) got 23 points and 10 rebounds from Leo Lyons while DeMarre Carroll and Kin English each added 13 points as the Tigers held off 14th-seeded Cornell, the Ivy League champions. The victory advances No. 3 Missouri to the second round of the West Regional.

The Big 12 placed a record nine teams in postseason play and the conference had a 2-1 record in first-round National Invitation Tournament games.

Last year, the eight Big 12 teams in the NCAA women's tournament set a record by going 8-0 in the first round.

Opening rounds
A look at how the Big 12 in the first round of its 13 NCAA Tournaments:

Year Teams W-L
2009 6 6-0
2008 6 5-1
2007 4 3-1
2006 4 2-2
2005 6 4-2
2004 4 4-0
2003 6 5-1
2002 6 4-2
2001 6 2-4
2000 6 5-1
1999 5 3-2
1998 4 2-2
1997 5 4-1

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